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Fema 6, Florida 2, Kansas 2, Israel 2, Katrina 2, Sandy 2, Campbell 2, Capps 2, Virginia 1, Mr. Blumenaur 1, Cam Intel 1, By Golly 1, St. 1, Richmond 1, South Louisiana 1, U.s. 1, Pakistan 1, Afghanistan 1, Nation 1, Hud 1,
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  CSPAN    The Communicators    News/Business. People who  
   shape the digital future.  

    January 14, 2013
    8:00 - 8:30pm EST  

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colleague mr. brooks' amendment on assistance so many of our constituents think that a foreign assistance programs budgets are less than 1% and i believe strongly that so many of these programs are for national security and we can't protect the nation alone and we need our allies to work together to ensure that the nation is safe and its u.s. national security that has benefited by assistance. ..
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until we're in a position we do not need to transit over their soil, it appears to me the best supply route is to continue to pay this transit fee as we go over pakistan, and i have an exception for afghanistan because that's a war zone, and then israel i have an exception for, under my proposal, because of the heightened risk of conflict. should be weakened financially because we cut them off, or if cutting them off would appear to be a move to distance ourself and might embolden israel's foes, and my amendment would
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fully fund the proposal of chairman hall rogers. >> mr. burgess. >> thank you for the recognition, i want to thank all of you for your work on the eliminating offset amendments. there was a 1% across the board offset that turned out to be $9 billion when, in 2005-2006, and there is a crs report delineates that. i think there's precedence for looking at this. one question i would have for you is, how will this funding be affected by the sequester? is there already an across the board cut that comes through the
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sequester and is your cut in addition to the sequester or is this funding carved out and protected? >> my understanding, doctor, is that both the underlying bill and my amendment would be on top of the sequester. >> so they're protected from the cuts or the sequester cuts -- >> the the $17 billion is not subject to the sequester. these would be additional reductions on top of the sequester. >> you raise an interesting point in 2005, 1% across the board, $1 billion in saving, and we're up to 1.63% now and generating twice of that. >> that was knopp dense, nonhomeland security spending in 2005. >> no further questions from the
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committee. i want to thank each of you for not only sicking around but for your consciousness of explaining very carefully your thoughts and ideas with this committee, and you're each excused tonight. thank you. at this time the chair is in a receipt from the gentleman, mr. yoaquita, to enter in the record, and i will. i'd like to call the next panel. i would ask that you five please come forward, and remembering that we want to turn on those -- we just had an opportunity to see each other on the floor. i want to express my sorrow to you on behalf of the committee to the circumstance of your
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family, that you've been through, and welcome to the committee, sir. you're recognized. anything you have, statement will be entered into the record. so feel free to speak at this time. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for your courtesy. i would like to express my appreciation to representatives campbell, capps and howth for submitting amendments on my half because i was not a member of this body. in the wake of hurricane sandy i think we have all repeatedly expressed our thoughts are with the victims and families, lost loved ones or having injury, property damage, having their lives turn upside-down. we also owe it to the victims and devastated communities to help them rebuild stronger and safer. hurricane sandy was uniquely devastating, but it will not be the last time that a hurricane
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hits the northeast or the gulf coast. whether or not one ascribes to the science, an extreme weather event, including hurricane sandy defend stating drought, should inspire us all to think about how we do this job better. providing relief to devastated families and communities is of course the first action. i support it. it should be national priority and i support hr152 as well as the rogers amendment. but we cannot afford to continue the status quo. we need to assure that the investment is done wisely and that it minimizes exposure in the future. first, we need to invest in mitigation. investing a dollar in mitigation can save five dollars in long-term expenses.
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we need to change the way we budget for disasters. massive storms are no longer unforeseen. we got to get out of the mindset where we toss in a billion dollars in the appropriations committee because it's cheaper for the appropriations committee to fund billions of dollars of unforeseen expenses after the fact, than a few hundred million dollars to prevent those disasters in the long run. and finally, could i not agree more with the testimony that i heard, sitting here, that we need to make sure we're distributing disaster supplemental money in a way that they tax dollars are used efficiently and effectively. i'm offering three amends which i think capture the spirit of doing this appropriately to help the devastated communities rebuild stronger and safer, while protecting the taxpayers.
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first, congressman campbell and i have submitted amendment number 29 that would clarify the language in the amendment about the nonfederal share for ongoing construction projects unrelated to hurricane sandy. now, historically, each renourishment is controversial. how much should we invest in this, and we have settled on a split. 65% federal, 35% state and local or private. we raised that. that's unprecedented. but so be it. may be unprecedented circumstance. but the language in the amendment does not make it clear that we're -- that this is a one-time only shot. projects like this, for long-term beach construction, can last up to 50 years. and i think it would be a great
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mistake if somehow there's ambiguity in this law that would put the federal taxpayer on the hook for decades to come. i hope it's a drafting error, but i would hope that i would have the committee's support for mr. cam intel my amendment to clarify we're not having a long-term liability. second, it's important -- i would note, this amendment is supported by environmental groups. it's supported by the professionals who work in the field. it's supported by taxpayer groups. the second amendment with representative capps, actually two amendments because it applies to both the amendments. to make sure where it says the
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use of the funds will address long-term recovery, the amendment clarifies that long-term recovery includes mitigation of future events. if we're going to spend billions, we ought to make sure that at the same time we are strengthening the communities to make future loss less affected. it sounds like a minor detail. it doesn't cost us any money to clarify but makes it more likely that we will be not before you in the future, because opportunities to spend this money, to strengthen community, will not be lost. finally, congressman holt offered on my behalf amendment 77. now, admittedly, it will require a waiver here, but i think it's worth considering, because we're doing a lot of legislating with
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this legislation. to clarify that, when we use these moneys, they will be -- that we will make sure that the rebuilding efforts use the best available science and hazard mitigation data. members have been involved in general rate new information. it's not finalized yet. but much of it is available. it would be unfortunate if we don't clarify going forward that these billions of dollars to try to strengthen the community, would be based on the best available information. much of it has been paid for by the taxpayer already. and to not use it going forward to plan these efforts, would be a lost opportunity. again, i appreciate your courtesy, and permitting me to elaborate on these three. i think if we do our jobs right,
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approve these amendments, we're going to end up saving taxpayer money in the long term, but more important than saving taxpayers money, because i look around the panel and a number of you have experience with disasters. that we would fortify the communities, we will strengthen them and make it his likely we will be facing this human devastation in the future. thank you. >> thank you very much. >> kept talking and -- i'm so with you on this one. mr. chairman, ranking member, thank you for having me. i'm their speak about amendment 36 which, if adopted, certain provisions related to hurricane isaac and the army corps of engineers. it's permissive language and i'll elaborate on that in a second. and similar to previously passed by the senate.
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it's bipartisan. senator richmond would be here but he could not be here. now, there's a couple things to point out in the housing amendment. page 19 and 20, have another error, $3,461,000,000 in construction funding for the army corps of engineers and then remove. and on page 12, line 7 and 8, $50 million for investigations until expended. doesn't say it has to be spent on anything worth anything. just supposed to be there until it's spent. that's kind of crazy, if you will, and we have a silo that's to be built no matter what. so, frankly, when i talk to people back home, that's what drives them crazy about here. so, since we -- both sides of the aisle are looking for ways our government to look better,
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would like to add flexibility -- not demand it, only permit it -- to also address the other hurricane event which happened, which is in my own state, st. john's parish, and the damage inflicted in st. john didn't make headlines as did sandy, but there were thousands of people who lost their businesses, lost their homes, and we're spending all kinds of money. st. john's parish, one small parish in the midst of the devastation, has spent $12 million on debris removal. 12 million. now, that is predictable. we know it's going to happen and the army corps is moving to figure out a way to mitigate. how to prevent doing this again. i'm told they need a million dollars of federal money to finish the study and begin the
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authorization process. that's part of what we have committed to in the congress. instead, next time there's a big event, there will be 12 million more in debris removal. it's just crazy. so, again, this is not an earmark for south louisiana. it doesn't instruct the corps to spend one dollar. all it does is give the corps the able to say, listen, we got all this money in sandy, frankly, there's no place to spend it we think is worth it, and if that's the case, if we can spend a small portion someplace else if we think it's reasonable to do so. from the taxpayer perspective i would like to give them that flexibility. does not guarantee anything for my state. if the corps decides it needs to spend all that money in the northeast, then, by golly, they can. if they say, we spent all we can spend and now we're spending to spend, allows me to spend someplace else that, frankly,
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fulfill the old proverb, a haveee in -- a levee in time saves millions of dollars down the line. so if congress is going to pass legislation to provide protection to hurricane devastation, the dollars should be spent on the basis of need and value to taxpayer, not on the basis of geography. i hope you will consider this amendment and give the corps that choice and flexibility. thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate the opportunity to be here this anything, and appreciate the opportunity. my amendment number 61 -- i have a few talk to about thissening but 61, ensure maximum transparency in this process in which we'll see billions of taxpayer dollars distributed through fema grant. my amendment would eliminate the $1 million threshold for
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disclosure in the underlying bill and require disclosure of all grants distributed under people half. let me give you an example. recent fema report, reported that a grantee received $830,000 following a recent flood. the town in question spent all the allocated grant money and had requested reimbursement for another $800,000. fema rejected the claim, finding numerous attempts to claim reimbursement outside of the scope of the flood and outside of the terms of the grant, including the attempt to buy new chairs, computer, telephones, microwaves, what have you. and we know the sheer volume of grants that will come in as a result of sandy necessitates maximum transparency in advance, and my amendment requires just that. one other situation, according to september 2012, homeland security ig report, following hurricanes katrina and rita, and
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other disasters, up until december 31, 2010, fema diss burred more than $8 billion in assistance payments. it was later determined that, quote, we lacked internal controls, resulted in improper payments of $621 million to over 167,000 recipients who either were ineligible or received duplicate payments. additionally, on this issue, fema, as of september 7th, this past year, had recouped only 1.3 million, and also spent an estimated $7 million to attempt to recoup those payments. so we spent nearly $6 million more than we recouped from the fraudulent payments. mr. chairman, the paperwork is already being done on these grants as a result of sandy. they're already being recorded on a computer in fema. it is not an undo burden to make
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that information transparent. i just flew back in from kansas, as did many of my colleagues, from the district, and last week i did four town hall meetings in additional to 140 in the last two years, and my constituents look at this spending and our trillion dollar deficit, they want to know where all the money goes, not just over a million dollars, and this amendment would take one step to providing transparency and accountability. so i ask this committee add the amendment, and i'd also file two amendments that would have needed waivers. these seek to ensure that local governments are not violating the second amendment right office law abiding citizens. and then number 60 would require certification by the secretary of homeland security that no recipients were receiving funds if they were agent acting actinn contravention to the law preventing gun con confiscation.
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when guns were improperly confiscated after hurricane katrina, congress passed a law to prevent this from happening in the future. in the state legislature in kansas, i led the effort to pass similar legislation. i have submitted revised amend 68 that would ensure that no funds are used under this bill in violation of the second amendment rights following katrina. my office cleared this language with the parliamentarian's office. many of you following the news, the mayor of new york city made to secret of his desire to bring about the strictest gun control policy, and refused to bring in the national guard to protect the city because they would be carrying guns and and he only wandded the nypd on the street with guns. we need to assure that no individual uses this crisis to infringe on our rights. by passing this amendment we can
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let them know congress is watching them and we expect them to uphold the amendment and i ask revised amendment 60 be in order. i look forward to questions, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and members. certainly we have a national disaster, and i'm not just talking about hurricane sandy. i don't want to boat a -- beat a dead horse but we had a national debt of $16 trillion and it's growing by $4 billion a day. we must put restraint on all spending. we must inject a bit more common sense and accountability into every bill, including disaster relief. i profoes five amendments that would do just that. none of them cut funding. they simply add reasonable accountability. as a representative from florida's atlantic coast i'm well aware of the terrible
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damage that hurricanes can inflict, and also mindful or our responsibility for oversight and prudent judgment when taxpayer dollars are being spent. during my first year in the legislature in the florida house, my very first session was about hurricane andrew. hurricane andrew, special session, and i saw first hand how federal disaster relief was abused in the wake of hurricane andrew. i'mles mindful of the wide-spread fraud, waste and abuse that happened in the wake of hurricane katrina that cost taxpayers billions. the congressional research office is issuing a report later this week detailing katrina abuses and identifying possible legislative remedies to address them. it's difficult to not have access to this report before we vote on this bill. i have offered reasonable accountability amendments to
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ensure that taxpayer money is not wasted. i ask the committee to please rule in order of those amendments to protect the taxpayers. amendment number 88, requires that disaster relief be spend to repair damage caused by hurricane sandy. and amendment number 39 presents the distribution of relief funds to deadbeat citizen by offsetting grants by the amount of money they owe the federal government. we shouldn't be giving taxpayer handouts to tax cheats. amendment 40 prohibits the distribution of funds to dead people. a common sense antifraud measure. amendments number 41 and 42 require the department of housing housing and urban development apply existing cost recovery provisions when taxpayer money is used to repair a home. currently hud has the option of applying the standard. my amendment requires hud recover the grant money when the home owner sells the home. this amendments make sure that hud makes their their best
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effort to recover the full amount of the taxpayer grant, and if the home owner has any profits from the sale of the property. in other words, we'll help you, bit of you profit in the sale of your home, you'll repay the taxpayers. we cannot continue to spend. these amendments protect taxpayers. thank you very much. [inaudible] >> thank you, mr. chairman, and the ranking lady. as members of congress we're stewards of the public treasurery and have an obligation to spend the taxpayers' money wisely. i have an amendment to exempt all construction projects under the act from the davis bacon act. as you're aware that act requires federal construction
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contractors to pay at least the wages rates prevailing on nonfederal construction projectness the same locality. unfortunately the sampling methodology employed under the davis bacon act is so flawed that in some instances 100% error rates have been discovered in multiple audit samples. these error rates cause rates to bear little relation to prevailing wages, leading the government to overspend up to 22% over market wages on these projects. davis bacon increases the cost of construction projects by 9.9% and inflates the cost of federal construction and wastes taxpayer dollars mitchell amendment expedites -- financial responsibility in contracts, and i ask my made be ruled in order. [inaudible]
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>> i don't have any questions for the panel but i want to say there's been a real epidemic of logic here tonight, one that i haven't seen in a long time. and i just have to comment on that. i don't make too many comments about -- or ask too many questions, and i have to say, particularly dr. cassidy, i give you -- tell you something my husband said to me my first time in the state legislature when i was talking about doing something logically, and he said, virginia, if you think people in the legislature are acting on logic, you are a very naive woman and you have a lot to learn. they're operating on emotions and very seldom on logic. and i am really struck by that
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advice that he gave me a long time ago, particularly on the basis of all the comments i've had here tonight. thank you all very much for reminding me that we ought to be dealing in a logical way. [inaudible] >> i just had one question. mr. blumenaur was talking about setting standards for -- rebuilding -- we talked so much about the financial costs of the disasters and we talked almost nothing at all about the emotional cost of disasters. i understand the amendment you and mr. holt have offered. you're saying that, we're going to come the aid of our neighbor spins vest billions of dollars
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in these community. but what we're not going to do is invest those billions of dollars in ways that this very same family that hat suffered this very same tragedy is going to find themselves homeless again when the very next natural disaster blows through. my am i understanding your lange correctly? >> i put that on mrs. fox's burst of logic, mr. chairman. it is absolutely reasonable to ask folks to help their neighbors, but not at all to put them in a circumstance where they do it again and again. i say to mr. posey, it's my great hope we'll go with the chairman's mark of 17 billion tom and not the higher number so we'll have access to that report before we go on and do the remaining 30 odd billion dollars. thank you, mr. chairman. [inaudible]
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>> stick around to the bitter end, and thank you very much. this panel is now dismissed. this ends the hearing. seeing no further members who are seeking any recognition at this time. the hearing for hr152 is now -- ends and we'll move consideration of the rule for hr152, the chair will be in receipt of a motion from the vice-chairman of the committee. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i move the committee grant the hr152, appropriations act 201; the rule provides debate equally dividing control of the chair and rank minority member of the committee on appropriations. he rule has all points of order against consideration. the rule provides the amendment and nature of the substitute printed in the rules com

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